Following a great deal of anticipation and expectation, the shape of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016 has been revealed. The draw for the group stage of the tournament took place during a major event at the Al-Hussein Cultural Centre in central Amman, on the evening of Monday 30 May.
Naturally, all eyes were on the fortunes of the hosts. The Jordanians will be in Group A and play their first match against Spain on the opening day of the competition, 30 September. Three other matches will also take place that day, including the tournament's opening match between New Zealand and Mexico.
Draw event held in celebratory atmosphereThe draw event took place at the Al-Hussein Cultural Centre in downtown Amman, overseen by His Highness Prince Ali bin Hussein, the President of the Jordanian Football Association. People across Jordan were watching intently, while in attendance were Lydia Nsekera, a member of the FIFA Council; representatives of the teams taking part in the competition; journalists from various media organizations; and hundreds of other guests.
The celebration began with the Jordanian national anthem, followed by a video presentation about Jordan, describing the beauty of this Middle Eastern kingdom and its preparations to host this global youth football fiesta. The presenters of the draw event, Alia Touqan and Mohammed Al Madfai, welcomed the attendees.
His Highness Prince Ali bin Hussein then took to the stage to give a speech, stating that: "This is a dream come true. It has been a long and challenging journey to get here, and I would like to thank everyone who has supported this challenge. Most of all, I'd like to thank our girls. Some of them are here today. Others who joined us at the beginning of our journey have since retired. But if it wasn't for all their dedication and determination, we wouldn't be here for this draw today. This tournament will be a milestone for women's football in the region and the world. And we hope you enjoy our hospitality, whilst in the country."
Following this was FIFA Council Member Nsekera, who in her speech said: "The kingdom of Jordan will witness a magnificent event in the coming months, as FIFA’s flagship U-17 women’s football competition travels to the Middle East for the first time. This momentous event is sure to leave a positive legacy and have a sustainable impact for generations well into the future.
"The FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is part of FIFA’s commitment to promote, develop and invest in women’s football, so that the sport and those who play it can grow to reach their full potential in Jordan, across the Middle East, and beyond." The event continued with a folk-dance show which was well-received by the guests present.
Moments of expectationA few moments after this performance, an expectant air descended on the event, similar to the moments before a penalty shoot-out. Tatjana Haenni, the Deputy Director of FIFA’s Competitions Division and Head of Women’s Competitions, gave a brief explanation of the draw procedure and the way teams are assigned to pots based on four levels of performance record. The draw then started, with the help of four Jordanian sportswomen, Maha Barghouthi, Dana Haider, Stephanie Al Naber and Yasmeen Khair, in addition to Samar Nassar, the CEO of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Local Organising Committee.
The names of the teams taking part were announced one after the other and the groups began to take shape. The teams taking part in each group were displayed on the screens in the room, as the guests speculated about who would be drawn in Jordan’s section.
After the draw the coaches and team representatives went up on stage for photos, before going to the common area and sharing their thoughts on the event.
Group A:Jordan, Spain, Mexico,New Zealand
Group B:Venezuela, Germany, Cameroon, Canada
Group C:Nigeria, Brazil, England, Korea DPR
Group D:USA, Paraguay, Ghana, Japan